Traditionally, wedding speeches are given by the father of the bride, the groom and the best man. However, what do you do if the usual speech-givers aren’t cut out for public speaking? Or this tradition just doesn’t seem right for your wedding. Maybe there’s a bride and bride, groom and groom or dad and step-dad. What then?
What to do instead of wedding speeches
Most wedding speeches are about how the happy couple met and how their relationship grew along with funny anecdotes about their childhood. A confident public speaker can entertain your guests, but there are many less traditional approaches to celebrating the couple and their story.
1. Give a Joint Speech
If nervousness is the issue, try doing it as a pair. Mother and father of the bride, bride and groom, chief bridesmaid and best man (or any other combination). Standing up together and handing the mic back and forth is fun and takes the pressure and focus off one person.
2. Change the Speech-Givers
There is no reason why you can’t have the bride, chief bridesmaid, uncle, aunt or close friend give the speeches if they know you well. Just make sure they include anecdotes and a nod to the traditional speech givers. It’s lovely to include them even if they don’t want to take the lead.
3. Alter the timeline
Wedding speeches are usually scheduled for right after the wedding breakfast, but you could change that. Perhaps later in the evening (and after a few drinks) the traditional speech-givers will be a bit more relaxed and happy to speak.
4. Create a video
A nervous public speaker may be willing to film friends and family answering a series of questions about the couple ahead of time. For example, where did they meet? How long have the been together? Describe the proposal? What are their middle names? Any advice for married life? The possibilities are endless. It gets lots of guests involved and can make for a really entertaining video.
5. Put together a slideshow
A little easier than a video, perhaps, but relies on someone finding lots of pics of the couple over the years and during their childhood. You need about 150 pics if you want to play it on a continuous loop for the duration of the wedding breakfast. Add captions for guests to read.
6. Read a poem
Eyes down reading an entire speech may not be the done thing, but it’s okay if you’re reading a poem. You don’t need to write your own, unless you are poetically inclined. Let each speech-giver choose a poem (or reading) they think is suitable and have some fun.
7. Engage a storyteller
This is a good one. A professional storyteller speaks with the couple at length beforehand and weaves an epic adventure around their story of love and romance, perhaps with friends and relatives as characters in the tale. Record it or keep a written copy so you can look back and remember any time.
8. Have a quiz
Takes a little bit of organisation, but a great way to include guests. Table teams answer questions about the couple and the winning table is announced later in the day. You need to appoint someone to be in charge of putting pens and answer sheets on tables, asking the questions and scoring the quiz.
9. Organise an open mic
Choose one person who is a confident MC and have them conduct an open mic, walking around among your guests and inviting them to speak. This is a great way of making sure everyone who you want to speak gets to contribute. In particular, if you have step-mums and dads who may otherwise be left out of traditional speeches. You may even find that nervous speech-givers are happy to say a few words spontaneously after they’ve seen a few others take the mic.
10. Change the location
If your chosen speech-givers don’t like the idea of being the centre of attention in a formal wedding setting, do something different. One of our couples chose to have their speeches outdoors with guests standing, sitting on hay bales and at picnic tables. It was very relaxed.
11. Plan a performance
We all know folks who would shudder at the thought of giving a speech but who are quite happy to rap, sing, dance or otherwise perform before an audience. Sometimes it’s easier to pick and practice a routine and stick to that. Make sure your videographer or trusted friend records it so you can look back and remember your day.
We are all about quirky and unusual weddings at Barnutopia. Every wedding is unique and we love helping to create a day to remember for the rest of your lives.